STAYING ON TRACK, Week 3, The Struggle with Doubt

STAYING ON TRACK, Week 3

The Struggle with Doubt

  • Doubt can be defined as “divided loyalty.” We all struggle with it and need to find a way to Deal with it. James, Jesus’ brother, wrote a hard note on Doubt:

5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty (doubt) is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:5-8

  • Doubt is the mind in suspension between faith and unbelief.  Unbelief is willful Refusal  to believe, Doubt is a position between two  choices.
  • Doubt has two minds caught at the half way stage. Doubt often leads to sin.  So the question to ask is, “Where does my doubt lead me?”
  • Christian remember some of the Greatest Christian thinkers/writers started with the platform of Doubt: C.S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther, John Calvin and many others.
  • Christian author Os Guinness wrote, “If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt. If doubt is answered, our faith has grown stronger. It knows God more certainly & it can enjoy God more deeply.”    
  • Christian faith, no matter how strong, will Doubt at some point. Even so Doubt instead of being a sign of Frailty might be a sign of Growth .

ONE OF THE GREATEST

  • John who was greater than any man/woman of God recorded in the Bible: “Jesus said of him, ‘I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist.’” Matthew 11:11
  • John was the Man. He was separated unto God. He lived in the desert near the Dead Sea. His entire life was committed to preparing the way for the Christ.  In John 1:29,     “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” 
  • John was followed by 1000’s who came to hear him,  “I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen   One of God.” John 1:34

“Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals.” Luke 3:16

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:30

John was great yet he doubted the most important thing of all…whether Jesus was really the Christ.

“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Matthew 11:3

  • John had been in prison for speaking the truth to King Herod and He had been in there awhile and he was moving into the Doubt.
  • This says a number of things, but an important one is the fact that anyone can doubt.

How To Overcome Doubt

“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19

  • Jesus’ response to John’s doubt was Grace.  Jesus said, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4-5 & Isaiah 35:5-6)
  • Jesus referred John back to the Bible. He reminded him that the main way to deal with Doubt is in the Word. That’s Jesus’ method of dealing with our doubts.
  • Many of us have Bibles lying around gathering dust. Some of us even carry one. But when we’re struggling with doubt, we don’t want a scripture; we want something tangible, something emotional that we can feel. We would rather have Jesus just put His arm around us and say something about how everything will be all right. That would make us feel better. But overcoming doubt isn’t just about feeling better; it’s about getting back into faith that only comes from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
  • Jesus sent the word back with John’s disciples. He knew His Word would overcome the Doubt. Peter understood this too…

“Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life,  so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.” 2 Peter 1:12-15

  • The Bible has to be the focus of those who long to Believe.  Peter was stating how important it was for God’s word to be received, as they were, in truth, the Word of God.  “Then Jesus told them, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.’” Matthew 21:21
  • The Bible is more sure and more faith building and doubt destroying than seeing Jesus transfigured (Peter) or hearing an audible voice from heaven (John the Baptist). Thank God!
  • The Bible is our foundation to fight Doubt. The Word of God is written to build our Faith and strengthen our Walks
  • Believer’s that you can Count On are essential for Strengthen Faith, growth and moving past of Doub.   Like the believer from Matthew, “‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.’” Matthew 8:8-9.  He is a guy that would good to hang out with.
  • The officer had a faith that was in God’s Word alone. He didn’t have to have Jesus come to his house and wave His hand over the sick servant. If Jesus would just give him a word, that was all he needed.

Believer’s like Thomas struggled with Doubt.  Contrast this officer’s faith with the little faith of Thomas, who was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” John 20:25.  Jesus walked up to Thomas and told him to put his finger into the print of the nails and put his hand into Jesus’ side and to not be faithless but believing. Thomas fell on his knees and confessed Jesus as his Lord and God. 

“‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed.” John 20:28

“Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.’” John 20:29

Believer’s can only walk so far on Water .  Peter got out of the boat in Faith and sank in Doubt.  “Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water, but when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,”Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew14:29